What I love about this business: the people

Escrow is one of the toughest jobs in real estate, for a lot of different reasons. But, it is by far the most interesting from our experiences in that both Lynlee and I have sold (circa 1990) as licensee’s, bought and sold homes as homeowner’s and today as owners of an escrow company.

For example, in a recent day at the office we have had people curse at us, a customer who threatens to sue everyone in the deal including the clerk at the corner 7-11, an angry client yelling at their loan officer so loud that other tennants in our building start calling to see if everything is ok, then, before we have a chance to catch our breath, my wife comes smiling out of the signing room after meeting with a client. Looking at her, I say, “what are you grinning about?” To which she wryly remarks, “that customer just told me, ‘please don’t take me the wrong way, but you are a very pretty lady.”

You can be the scum of the earth to someone at 10am in the morning and then a hero just twenty minutes later.

In escrow you meet the most interesting people: From rock stars, to brain surgeons, shakers ‘n movers, CEO’s, farmers, war hero’s, teachers, politicians, pro-athletes and more. And, the occasional world famous writer to boot.

12 thoughts on “What I love about this business: the people

  1. I could not work in escrow. I could not be verbally abused on a daily basis, only to meet some interesting people and be rewarded with a nice compliment every now and then.

    I remember walking into an escrow office in 1989 and the chain smoking closer, with nicotine-stained fingers sat me down and opened up the door to a mini refrigerator under her desk and mixed herself a drink. It was only 10AM.

    I have this theory and I could be totally wrong, but my theory is that many people in the escrow business come from troubled families. As an adult, the escrow person is re-living that scenario and trying to make everything okay by being the neutral, middle child and getting the escrow transaction closed on time to bring peace into the transaction.

    Call me insane, but that’s my theory.

    Either way, I could not do that job and as such, I have an enormously high degree of respect and admiration for any person who works in the field of escrow.

  2. Interesting theory.

    I’ll have to run that by my sister (Karen Smith, Precision Escrow), since she’s done escrow for decades. She certainly would qualify as a peacemaker in my book!

    Tough job, and we LO’s can certainly do our part to make it easier, by fully explaining the loan terms, the costs, and the process to the borrower before they ever arrive at escrow.

    Is there a blog for craziest closings? There have been some mighty funny stories circulated.

  3. Here is a crazy closing story:

    The loan originator fully explains all costs on the good faith estimate, provides the borrower with all the state and federal required disclosure forms and fully explains the terms of the loan, including going over the initial Truth-in-Lending form with the borrower. Documents arrive at escrow well ahead of the signing date. The borrowers have plenty of time to review copies of the final documents prior to entering the signing room. The borrowers are pleased with the interest rate they received, and the fees they paid.

    At signing, the loan originator is actually available when the borrower calls with a minor question. The signing appointment occurs when the borrowers are under very little stress (no traffic problems on the way in, no crying children to attend to while signing docs, no stress about this financial transaction they’re about to undertake.)

    The transaction closes and fully funds one day in advance of the deadline on the purchase and sales agreement. The Realtor commission checks are hand-delivered in person by the escrow closer and the Realtors promise to give the escrow closer all his/her business.

    Crazy story. I bet it does happen from time to time.

    If this were a regular occurence, escrow would be a very boring place to work.


  4. I remember when I was the new receptionist for Safeco Title back in 1986 and I asked my boss what is escrow? His answer (was something like) : Where everything comes together at the end of the real estate transaction and people think things are your fault just because you’re the last one holding the bag.

    When I managed a title/escrow branch, I’d get the tough signings and it’s true. Sometimes consumers can be so upset and stressed out by the end of a transaction, they want to wring someone’s neck and the poor signer is the only who the consumer can “see” if the LO or agent are not attending the signing.

    We had good transactions, too. An Escrow Officer knows by who the LO or agents are what the entire tone of the transaction will be. This is why Escrow Officers are a great resource to ask referrals from (as far as recommendations of LOs). They see through the smoozey sales and see who’s detail oriented and has happy clients at closing.

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  6. Well, as someone working in escrow since 1978, I must admit escrow is never boring. I don’t get yelled at on a daily basis, but I have had my share of unhappy people. Once a customer of someone else in my office threatened to bring a gun to the signing! I find the comments above interesting and I am going to have to admit to trying to be a peacemaker as my dear brother, Roger, describes above.

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